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About the Author: E.L. Doctorow

E. L. DOCTOROW’S works of fiction include Homer & Langley,The March, Billy Bathgate, Ragtime, the Book of Daniel, City of God, Welcome to Hard Times, Loon Lake, World’s Fair, The Waterworks, and All the Time in the World. Among his honors are the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle Awards, two PEN Faulkner Awards, The Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal. In 2009 he was short listed for the Man Booker International Prize honoring a writer’s lifetime achievement in fiction, and in 2012 he won the PEN Saul Bellow Award given to an author whose “scale of achievement over a sustained career places him in the highest rank of American Literature.” In 2013 the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the Gold Medal for Fiction.

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Find the best price forLa Gran Marcha

Goodreads rating: 3.78

Paperback, Published in May 2006 by Roca

ISBN10: 8496544249 | ISBN13: 9788496544246

The Civil War was moving toward its inevitable conclusion. Gen. Wm Tecumseh Sherman marched 60,000 Union troops thru Georgia & the Carolinas, leaving a 60-mile-wide trail of death, destruction, looting, thievery & chaos. Doctorow's The March puts his stamp on these events by staying close to historical fact, naming real people & places & then imagining the rest, as he did in Ragtime.
Recently, the Civil War has been the subject of novels by Howard Bahr, Michael Shaara, Charles Frazier, Robert Hicks etc. Its perennial appeal is due not only to the fact that it was fought on our soil, but also that it captures our ongoing ambivalence about race. Doctorow examines this question extensively, chronicling the dislocation of both southern whites & Negroes as Sherman burned & destroyed all they'd ever known. Sherman is a well-drawn character, pictured as a crazy tactical genius pitted against West Point counterparts. Doctorow creates a context for the march: "The brutal romance of war was still possible in the taking of spoils. Each town the army overran was a prize...There was something undeniably classical about it, for how else did the armies of Greece & Rome supply themselves?" The characters depicted on the march are those people high & low, white & black, whose lives are forever changed by war: Pearl, the newly free daughter of a white plantation owner & a slave, Col. Sartorius, a competent, remote, almost robotic surgeon; several officers, both Union & Confederate; two soldiers, Arly & Will, who provide comic relief in the manner of Shakespeare's fools until their roles aren't funny anymore. Doctorow has captured the madness of war in his description of the condition of a dispossessed Southern white woman: "What was clear at this moment was that Mattie Jameson's mental state befitted the situation in which she found herself. The world at war had risen to her affliction & made it indistinguishable." Later: "This was not war as adventure, nor war for a solemn cause, it was war at its purest, a mindless mass rage severed from any cause, ideal, or moral principle." As expected, Doctorow puts readers in the picture; never more so than in recalling "The March" as a cautionary tale for our times.--Valerie Ryan (edited)

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